This is what 'generation rent' need to hear from Ed Miliband in order to vote Labour next year

Soaring student debt, a lack of affordable housing and draconian benefit sanctions: these are the things that matter to young voters

Share

With the General Election on its way, my generation of over-qualified, under-paid 20-somethings are starting to wonder who we want to be represented by.

On an internship, I was asked to transcribe the whole of Ed Miliband's Desert Island Discs episode. It was late and I hadn’t eaten because they refused to subsidise my travel and food expenses. I listened to the music Ed had chosen and wanted to believe that he was better than the current chap we’ve got in Downing Street, regardless of the fact that he seems to find eating in public a bit of a struggle

So Ed, it’s all on you. I come from a family of disillusioned Labour supporters, turned Green since the Iraq war. If I’m to vote for Labour next year, I’d like you to make some meaningful promises, despite the fact that the very phrase smacks of the oxymoronic.

The London Housing Bubble

I’m really pleased that Labour is addressing the housing crisis, particularly in Britain’s capital. Private landlords are getting fat while London rents are rising by more than 10 percent annually. We need to see some tough controls on rent prices and ‘cowboy’ landlords who collect huge sums of money for cramped, cold, dilapidated, and in some cases, vermin-infested rental properties. You’ve promised to build 200,000 new homes by 2020. Make good on this, and consider following Scotland’s example by making rip-off letting agents fees unlawful in England and Wales.

Energy Prices

You’ve pledged to freeze energy prices until 2017. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. The ‘big six’ energy companies have already ridden roughshod over the finances of those already struggling to make ends meet. The ‘big six’ must be held to account and prevented from hiking prices once your freeze is over. If you’ve ever had to choose between paying an energy bill and buying food, you’ll understand why this is important.

Higher Education

I have £21k of student debt. I am one of the lucky ones. I want you to scrap the £9k per year tuition fees. They should never have been introduced. If you’re worried about too many people currently attending university, think about expanding the options available for those who’re more suited to apprenticeships and vocational qualifications. It would also be great if the Student Loans Company could provide loans for postgraduate degrees. Currently, the grants and bursaries available to those interested in furthering their studies are few and far between. If you have the inclination and ability to complete a Masters degree or a PhD, you need to have wealthy parents who can pay your way. It’s crude to place income as the deciding factor in educational advancement.

The Detention of Women

Ed, I’m calling on you to end the detention of women in Removal Centres like Yarl’s Wood. The women who seek protection in the UK have fled from political and religious persecution, and institutionalized homophobia. They have experienced rape, torture and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). They should not be locked up indefinitely in a prison where allegations of Serco guards behaving inappropriately and sexually abusing detainees are rife. These women have not committed a crime, so why do we hold them?

Benefit Sanctions

The draconian set of sanctions introduced under the coalition government is pushing Britain back into a nightmarish state of Victorian inequality. The new sanction rules for Job Seeker’s Allowance came into effect in October 2012, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Turn this around, Ed. Scrap the sanctions. Our national debt should not be reduced through the targeting of the most vulnerable. It is estimated that just 2 percent of total annual fraud in the UK is down to benefit fraud. 69% of total fraud is down to tax evasion. Follow the numbers. It isn’t the poor who are screwing Britain over.

One last thing, Ed, please don’t replace the current Cabinet with another Eton Mess.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Political Editor: Mr. Cameron is beginning to earn small victories in Europe

Andrew Grice
Pakistani volunteers carry a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen, at a local hospital in Peshawar  

The Only Way is Ethics: The paper’s readers and users of our website want different things

Will Gore
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'